According to Peter Webster Jackson (2001), OKSL may have been the language used by a deaf boy described by 17th century British writer Samuel Pepys in his Diaries. Pepys was dining with his friend Sir George Downing on November 9, 1666, when the deaf servant had a conversation in sign language with his master, which included news of the Great Fire of London. Downing had been to school near Maidstone, Kent, where he lived in a community where congenital deafness was widespread. This population supported a sign language which was known by many hearing people as well as deaf.
^Bencie Woll, Rachel Sutton-Spence and Frances Elton (2001), Multilingualism: The global approach to sign languages, in "The Sociolinguistics of Sign Languages", Edited by Ceil Lucas, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-79137-5.
^a Sign-language names reflect the region of origin. Natural sign languages are not related to the spoken language used in the same region. For example, French Sign Language originated in France, but is not related to French. ^b Denotes the number (if known) of languages within the family. No further information is given on these languages.